“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for October, 2004

Ring 0: Birthday

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Okay, let me take a deep breath and explain this shit. You remember the movie THE RING, directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Naomi Watts. It was a remake of the japanese movie RINGU (or RING) directed by Hideo Nakata. (You may remember I reviewed THE RING on THE AIN’T IT COOL NEWS and also was the first motherfucker on the internet to reveal it was being made back when I reviewed RINGU and RINGU 2 for them.) The movie by Hideo Nakata came after a TV series and both were based on a novel. At the same time Nakata’s movie came out there was another movie called RING 2 or RASEN which means SPIRAL but is not to be confused with the Japanese horror movie UZUMAKI which is about spirals but is completely unrelated to rings. Well RING 2 is also not to be confused with RINGU 2 which is directed by Hideo Nakata. See, RINGU was a huge hit but RASEN (even though it was based on the sequel book) was not, so they pretended it never happened and made a new sequel. Soon after in Korea, they made a remake of the original RINGU, known here as THE RING VIRUS and I haven’t seen that one but I heard it has stuff that was ONLY in the movie version but also stuff only from the book. In the US Gore Verbinski made THE RING which is sort of the same story as the Japanese movie but now in seattle with horses and a girl named Samara instead of Sadako. That one now has a sequel coming out which is directed by, holy shit, Hideo Nakata himself, director of the original RING movie and the second attempt at the first RING movie sequel. So now he’s directing the sequel to the remake of his original, which is apparently a direct sequel to the remake, not a remake of either his original sequel or the sequel that was adapted from the book sequel that he did not direct and nobody liked. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Grudge

Sunday, October 24th, 2004

For serious movie watching individuals like you or me, movies start to be like a drug after a while. You know how potheads and acidheads are always experimenting with their drugs? Dude, I wonder what the produce department is like on acid. Dude, I wonder what Disneyland is like on acid. Dude, I wonder what Knott’s Berry Farm is like on acid. Dude, I wonder what Police Academy 2 is like on acid.

Well you and I, we’re walking the clean path. But we’re kind of the same way with movies. Depending on the movie you want it to be a different situation – sit in a different part of a theater, see it with friends or alone, see it with a big crowd or early in the morning so there’s nobody there. If it’s a sequel, do you rewatch the original first or keep it distant in your mind? I had to make these type of decisions for THE GRUDGE because it’s a remake of this japanese horror movie I’ve been meaning to see for a while. Nobody probaly remembers this but I was the first one to review RINGU and RINGU 2 over there on The Ain’t It Cool News and the first one to report it was being remade as THE RING. And then I reviewed that remake too when they made it. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Team America: World Police

Saturday, October 16th, 2004

TEAM AMERICA is pretty much your typical moronic jingoistic action nonsense. The ultimate big budget, small brained hollywood summer action July 4th blockbuster. The movie you saw and couldn’t believe anybody liked but somehow everybody liked it and it made a bazillion dollars and the next summer everybody pretended it was somebody else who liked it. It’s pretty much that movie, except sarcastic, and done entireley with creepy looking marionettes like on that old TV show THUNDERBIRDS. That might be a comment about the wooden characterization and emotion in big action movies, and the way they treat sometimes respectable actors as props to move around and set up in front of explosions. But more likely it’s just because puppets are funny. It’s funny to watch them do stuff, because they’re puppets.

The first third or so of this movie is the hardest I’ve laughed in a long time. The opening credits are these overblown 3-D metallic letters that fly at the camera and then blow up, and you know right there that these filmatists know their Jerry Bruckheimer. What’s really impressive about the movie is the incredible attention to detail about all the cliches of action movies. They got every shot, every corny line, every montage, every subplot of a dumb action movie. They introduce and reintroduce bad guys exactly the same way they do in the real movies. They use the same angles and lighting and music cues. It’s just different because they’re these goofy bigheaded dolls and they walk funny. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Deathdream

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

Like ROLLING THUNDER and FIRST BLOOD, but before both of them, this is a genre movie about what happens to soldiers when they come home. Andy is a soldier who dies in Vietnam (well, they never actually say it’s Vietnam). And his family gets a letter and they cry and they deny it and his mom says it’s a lie and wishes it wasn’t true and sure enough that night they find him downstairs, back from the dead.

Even though he’s a zombie, he’s also a metaphor for people who survive war. They come back changed and nobody knows what to do to help them. Andy doesn’t get his hand in a garbage disposal like in ROLLING THUNDER, he doesn’t get bullied by the sherriff for being a longhair like in FIRST BLOOD, he doesn’t get spit on by protesters like in the urban legends. On the surface people treat him real good, like a great hero, but they just don’t understand him. They don’t even try. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Christine

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

I don’t know if you remember this movie, it’s about a haunted car. In other words, it’s based on a Stephen King book. And that also means it’s a 50’s car that plays old Little Richard songs and crap while it kills people. I know the filmatists today are bad, they gotta put references to all the TV shows and movies from their childhood, but Stephen King is the original. This guy has been cannibalizing his childhood for decades. And also he’s been making up stories about inanimate objects killing people. Killer laundry machines and shit like that. Remember in the TV movie version of THE SHINING, there was a haunted fire hose that killed a guy? It’s alot like that only a car.

Actually, it’s a better movie than I remember it being when I saw it back in the ’80s, and I’m going to give most of the credit to Mr. John Carpenter. I’m not saying this is HALLOWEEN or THEY LIVE but it’s a good straightforward haunted car movie. The movie stars Keith Gordon (the kid from HOME MOVIES and DRESSED TO KILL) as a nerdy kid whose jock buddy tells him he needs to get laid now that he’s a senior and who gets his ass kicked in metal shop. They stab his sack lunch to death with a switchblade and he suffers the humiliation of everybody seeing that his mom packed him yogurt. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

I ♥ Huckabees

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

I’m not 110% sure but I think there may be a new movement poking its head out from over the Hollywood hills. Only a few years ago it was unimaginable that a Hollywood studio would make an entertainment-oriented movie with recognizable stars but also with a premise so weird and convoluted that it is hard to even explain. Then all the sudden there was this movie starring John Cusack and Cameron Diaz and it was about how there’s a door hidden inside an office building that you can go through and you will be able to control John Malkovich and make him quit acting to become a puppeteer. Then also there was the movie by the same director and writer where Nicolas Cage played twin brothers who try to write a movie based on a non-fiction book about collecting rare orchids but they can’t do it and instead write the movie that you are actually watching about twin brothers who try to write a movie based on a non-fiction book about collecting rare orchids but they can’t do it so instead they write the movie that you are actually watching. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Man on Fire

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

I gotta question I was wondering about. If you had to choose one Scott brother that was better (or not as bad), which would it be, Ridley or Tony? On one hand, Tony has never made a truly great movie like ALIEN or, you know, BLADE RUNNER is a good one too in my opinion. Both by Ridley. Tony’s got nothing on that level. But on the other hand, Tony has a couple okay movies: TRUE ROMANCE and CRIMSON TIDE are both pretty okay. I’m looking on IMDB here and– okay wait a minute, Tony Scott did TOP GUN? I forgot about that one. Never mind. I guess I choose Ridley. Congratulations on this great achievement, Ridley. I remember you seemed pretty pissed off that you didn’t get the best director Oscar for that corny gladiator movie you made. Maybe this great honor will cheer you up. Way to go, champ.

So I guess that makes Tony the underdog here, and he had one this year called MAN ON FIRE that seemed to show some promise as a film of Badass Cinema. Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington (“You shot me in the ass!”) plays an alcoholic ex-CIA killer guy who’s hard up for work so he becomes a bodyguard for a little girl in South America. People get kidnapped there more often than they don’t get kidnapped, so next thing you know she gets stolen and this motherfucker stops at nothing to get her back and/or torture, maim and murder the people responsible. And I don’t know if you ever saw the poster for this one but it was real good. No collage or nothing, just one giant picture of Denzel wearing a suit and sunglasses, looking real tough. Behind him you see nothing but fire and smoke, and he’s standing half way in front of this little girl, holding out one hand in front of her, and she’s wearing a private school uniform and hugging a teddy bear. (You know, for emphasis.) It’s like Chow Yun Fat with the baby on the HARD BOILED poster, only 9 years later. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

2004 presidential debates

Thursday, October 7th, 2004

I don’t know about you but I’ve been enjoying these “debates.” It’s hard to call them “debates” without quotes because there are so many damn rules they might as well just play dungeons and dragons or something. I thought one of them was gonna get a balk.

(baseball technicality where a pitcher has stepped too far away from the mound and the batter gets to walk to first)

The best was definitely the first one, unofficially titled Kerry Unambiguously Whoops Bush’s Bitch Ass Part 1. I was a little nervous before the whole thing because you never know what’s gonna happen. Obviously Kerry had a good chance of doing well, and Bush had a very high chance of looking like a complete jackass. We all know the man can’t stand there and answer actual unplanned questions. We’ve seen it many times before, from the campaign 2000 interviews to the Meet the Press interview to even the handful of fake ass scripted “Press Conferences” he’s had. Even when the deck is stacked, he loses all his money. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Manson Family

Friday, October 1st, 2004

About a month ago I saw this movie DEADBEAT AT DAWN, a sleazy, gorey student film about lowlife THE WARRIORS style gang members stabbing each other and robbing armored cars and spinning nunchucks in the cemetery. The director and star was Jim Van Bebber, who seemed a little bit too into shock value but I thought he was still likable. His movie is corny and amateurish as hell but it has alot of conviction. This guy is swinging on ropes and jumping off bridges and piling on the hideous gore effects like nobody’s business. It’s one of those things where you don’t really love the movie but the guy’s obvious dedication to getting it done sort of elevates it. It’s about the journey, man.

Usually a guy like this, they go on to make bigger and better movies and become well known and respected, or more likely they go on to make slicker but much worse movies and then their career fizzles out and you forget you ever thought they had any potential. It’s hard to say where Van Bebber is headed though because since he finished DEADBEAT in 1988 he never bothered to sell out to Hollywood or get stuck signing deals that never amount to anything. Since then he has spent almost his entire career on one other movie, CHARLIE’S FAMILY. Another raw, fiercely independent, ten thousand miles away from Hollywood kind of low budget movie. This time it’s about the Manson family, it has some of the same cast but Van Bebber plays family member Bobby instead of the lead. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.